How many times have you heard the 23rd Psalm? Really? Can you even count? When is the first time you heard the 23rd Psalm? Did you memorize the 23rd Psalm as a child? Did you repeat the Psalm at an important time in your life? Did you hear it at a funeral for someone dear to you? What images are stirred up when you hear this Psalm?
On Easter Sunday, Pastor Jason encouraged us to close our eyes and listen to the scripture of Jesus’ resurrection as if we were hearing it again for the first time. That is sometimes difficult with scriptures that are so familiar. But it is an important practice so that God can continue to reveal Godself to us in new ways.
I encourage you to try this with one of the most frequently repeated Psalms.
Today, I challenge you pray this Psalm. There is a great Benedictine spiritual practice of praying the scriptures called lectio divina. It means divine reading or holy reading. And it is a great way to read scripture in a prayer-like manner that helps create a fresh reading. Lectio divina works like this:
First, read the scripture aloud slowly. Take a few moments to pause and reflect. Allow the scripture to soak into your body as you breathe deeply. Try and let go of your own thoughts and ideas.
Next, read the scripture aloud a second time. Again take a few minutes to sit with the scripture, paying particular attention to the words or phrase that stood out to you. What is it that God needs to say to you through this scripture?
Finally read the scripture a third time. Allow those words or phrases that stood out to you to become your prayer to God.
Try it out on Psalm 23. And be sure to consider the questions before after your three readings.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Now reflect on your experience of praying this Psalm. What did you hear this time that you haven’t paid attention to before? What words did you need to hear? What sounded new? How does this Psalm speak to you where you are today?
Amen. Let it be so.
If You Missed Last Sunday’s Sermon…
Listen to The Heart of Resurrection – Luke 24:13-35
God’s Words for This Week
Acts 2:42-47 – All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. (NRSV, v.44-45)
Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (NRSV, v.1)
1 Peter 2:19-25 – [Christ] left you an example so that you might follow in his footsteps. (CEB, v.21)
John 10:1-10 – Whenever he has gathered all of his sheep, he goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. (CEB, v.4)
This Week at Hood
Wednesday, May 4, 4:30 pm – Prayer & Inspiration
Wednesday, May 4, 5:30 pm -Snack Dinner
Wednesday, May 4, 6:00 pm – Children’s Class, Adult Bible Study, Yoga & Choir Practice
Sunday, May 7, 11:00 am – Worship
Sunday, May 7, 12 noon – Church Board Meeting
July 16, 2019
June 24, 2019
June 11, 2019